Post On: September 1, 2019
Enjoy! The full podcast, including how to apply our core solution-based principles to your life, is available to our members. Take permission: The Intentional Gap Year Girl workshop
Hey friends, I'm really excited about this month's topic, but before we dive in, I just want you to consider that you are only ever five steps away from a sustainable solution for any life situation when you approach it using the principles of a gap year mindset. And it's my hope that you'll come and visit us at thegapyeargirls.com to learn more!
So, now with that wonderful sponsor info out of the way….
Welcome to the Gap Year Girls, I’m your host Celeste, and you are listening to Episode #2, your Relationship to Creativity.
That’s what we are discussing in our membership site this month, and as I’ve been researching, reflecting and refining the content for all of our women to explore inside of there, I’ve really been able to see how much my own relationship to creativity has changed and transformed over the last 15 years.
As a little girl, as like a 5-6-year-old. I drew all the time, I had this dream actually of being a veterinary artist where people would come to my office with their puppies and kitties, and I would paint their pet’s portraits for the owners. You know, that would be the total sustainable business model that I would follow. When I was that age, I’d come home with drawings of rainbows and flowers, and I loved creating because it was fun and because I was focused on myself and creating art that expressed the things I loved and appreciated about the world. So take a moment to think about what did you do when you were that age? When you were 5-6-7, how did you create and make a mark in the world? It can look different for all of us, but reflecting on our creative joys when we were little might spark a bit of remembrance for the parts of your creative self that you might have since lost touch with.
Here’s what I realized when I reflect on it, when I started to get older, probably entering middle school around 11 years old, our grades became more of an important conversation, and I really started to begin comparing my level of natural talent to that of my peers. I stopped celebrating my art for the joy it brought me, and I started valuing my creativity for the higher grades it could get me on my school assignments. I think this is really natural as we get older, we want to see how we measure up to people, we want to do good work, and I came to the conclusion that my art really was only valuable if it serves a purpose of helping me succeed with my more “important” classes.
And so I sort of set my painting and my drawings aside, because creativity for the sake of having fun was no longer relevant or useful to support me with where I thought I needed to be going, now that I got a little older.
Which, in middle school and high school, you know when we had those options to take painting class, or a photography class, or a pottery class, I never took those classes because I had it in my head at that point that it was irresponsible to indulge in those classes when I really needed to be maximizing my strengths which for me was taking a language. And although that’s fun as well, creativity always felt like it needed to be justified by being practical or related to an expression of a natural talent that I had. So I wonder if that is the experience for any of you guys who are listening to this.
Because as a part of that, too, the ultimate goal that is sold to us in high school is to get into a good college, right? That’s the whole purpose of our education there. So instead of taking permission to see that space of growth and learning as an opportunity to explore my creativity and take those pottery classes, or painting classes that some of my friends would take and I’d be secretly a bit jealous of, I was filling up my plate with as many AP classes as I could pile on, in my best attempts to sort of ‘get ahead’ and improve my chances for succeeding at that ultimate goal of ‘getting into a prestigious university’.
When I reflected on my own relationship with creativity, I also noticed I had this perception that creativity was really just a person's ability to make beautiful art. And I took other classes that required a lot of creative problem solving, but I never identified myself as needing to rely on creativity to come up with solutions because of how I thought about it. I didn’t see creativity as you know, coming up with socioeconomic solutions for making a better world, I saw it as the arts. I saw it as painting, colors, molding things with my hands, and so I just felt disconnected from this idea of creativity because I put it in a box and labeled myself as a person who wasn't ‘it.’ You know?
I wonder if any of you can relate to what I'm saying, or if you had these limiting thoughts about creativity floating in your minds growing up? Maybe some of you listening did pursue the arts, or choose to go to an art college on purpose because that is something you did see in yourself and you valued… and if that’s one of the choices you made it would be interesting to think back now and consider - why? What did you believe about yourself and creativity that guided you to value your creative expression and prioritize it? Because a lot of us didn’t.
And for others who may be put it aside, and stopped making it a priority because we weren’t naturally gifted in a way that others saw our potential to one day monetize it, or be able to live on our own and survive just making art, let’s just question those thoughts for a moment.
Because really, creativity is so much more than just a means to an end for some sort of impressive result, right? Creativity is self-expression; it’s making your mark on the world. It’s channeling your own unique perspective and experiences and emotions into something that both you and others can behold and enjoy.
So I just wanted to share some of the things I have kept in mind because since graduating from high school, I’ve now traveled all around the world, I’ve met really incredible people, who are so self-expressed, so unique and authentic who dress themselves in individualistic ways, and create amazing songs, or businesses, or go on expeditions and I definitely found myself asking earlier on when I was meeting them: how can I be more like them? But what I was really asking myself was, how can I transform my relationship to creativity, so I feel authentic and creatively expressed in my own unique way?
Because I will be the first to admit, I got caught for a while in that grade school trap of placing all of the value on needing to just follow what I should do, and being a good student, instead of allowing myself the freedom to make decisions and be creative purely for the joy of the journey and creating itself. So, I just want to, as you bring more awareness to some of the limiting thoughts that you might have around creativity, just think about it. Do you see creativity as something fun and playful, and adds a level of depth to your character and to the life that you live? Or is it a means to an end with a lot of pressure to achieve a certain result?
We can only know where we stand once we bring a little bit more awareness to that.
Since transforming my own relationship to creativity - and also, transformation is evolving, I’m never done, but I can definitely now that I'm reflecting see how far I've come because I’ve done things like buying myself a ukulele for my birthday last year. And I’ve just been playing it for fun. It’s interesting to observe, though as soon as I pick up a ukulele, there are those thoughts coming into my head of going on the road to tour as a musician and its hilarious how quickly our brains can jump to … what is the ultimate end result this is all leading to? Where are we going with this? What's the point?
And one thing I am learning through making my own creativity a priority is just being able to be more accepting of where I’m at right now. Not judging myself for being a beginner, just because I pick up the ukulele, doesn't mean I need to aspire to be some famous musician, nor do I need to practice and put a bunch of pressure on myself to develop the skills to become one. It's actually totally okay to start something totally new, and have so much fun embracing where I'm at.
These are just little things to keep in mind if you are listening and wanting to transform your relationship to creativity, that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. It doesn't have to be in picking up this paintbrush to become the next Picasso. It can be in picking up this paintbrush because I love to smear colored mud around on a canvas, and it would be awesome to give my mom something homemade for her birthday this year.
The last thing I just want to share is to fall in love with the process instead of the end result because we put so much pressure on what everything needs to ‘get to’ or end up at. And we lose ourselves in that grind. I definitely did for a little while. We lose the joy of creation, and what's bringing me back to it now is remembering when I was 5 years old that I created art because it was fun, because it allowed me to bring my dreams to life, it allowed me to let my imagination wander to just see what was in there, and see what I came up with.
So this is your reminder that creativity is for YOU. It's not for anybody else, its tapping into the joy of what becomes possible when you give yourself the space to focus on developing skills that are inspiring for you and richness to your life that would be there if you hadn’t made it a priority.
So, that is what I’ve got for you today, again, if you want to learn more about applying the principles of a gap year mindset to transform your life, join us at thegapyeargirls.com
And comment and share your thoughts on this podcast below, I would love to read them, and I look forward to connecting with you in our next one. Bye-bye.